A Maltese environmental activist from Moviment Graffitti had her microphone cut off during a Planning Commission meeting that ended with the approval for 18 apartment flats to be built over a site of archaeological importance.
“I was giving my intervention about a similar site in Mosta, Tal-Qares, where historial cart ruts had been destroyed and punic tombs were cemented over – and they cut me off, saying it was out of point,” Karen Tanti told Lovin Malta.
Tanti’s intervention comes as application PA/03758/19 was being discussed. The area, in Kalkara, used to be home to an old farmhouse that was “illegally demolished last February”, according to Moviment Graffitti.
The 18 apartments will now be built on a site where cart ruts are present. An old carob tree will also be uprooted to make way for the homes.
“Chairman Simon Saliba justified it by saying he had listened to the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage who stated that they have no problem with the development,” Tanti said. “However, it seems like they only quote the SCH when they want to – there have been times when the SCH spoke against a project and they didn’t quote them then…”
Tanti said since the hearing was held online, it was easy for the commission to mute her and silence her concerns – “this wouldn’t have happened usually, but they are using their resources to get their way”.
After realising they had muted her, she unmuted herself… only to be muted again. “I didn’t notice right away and kept talking, which was a bit frustrating,” Tanti said.
The approved apartments will now be built on a Class B Scheduled Site, whih include a Class B buffer zone which is meant to ensure protection for the surrounding areas to the site.